This past week was the start the Chinese New Year. And, wow, do the Chinese know how to party. Unlike the USA, where we have a one-day celebration, the Chinese have 15 day celebration for the New Year. They decorate doors and windows, serve special foods and hand out traditional “red packets” of money.

You may already know that each year in China is related to an animal and cycles through dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey and rooster. Similar to what some people think about the Zodiac signs, the Chinese believe that you can predict how the year will be, according to the animal of that year, and that those born in the year of a particular animal have certain qualities themselves. 

This year is the Year of the Rooster.

In the USA, if I were to say someone was acting like a rooster, I’d be implying some braggadocio. After all, roosters are known for crowing and not much else. We had a rooster or two when I was growing up here in East Texas. A rooster might crow to brag when he had conquered a hen. He might crow in the morning as if to let everyone know the sun is up – as if he has anything to do with that. He might crow to call attention to his territory. 

We may laugh at crows when they make noise to draw attention to themselves, their accomplishments or their territory, but we do not find it so amusing in people. In fact, God also has a few things to say about how we use our own voices and our words. 

  • Our words start not in our mouths, not in our minds, but in the heart. 

Luke 6:45 [NKJV] A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (See also Matthew 12:34)

Good words start with a pure heart. 

  • We are to try to edify (lift up) others with our words. 

Ephesians 4:29 [NIV] Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

My words are to build up others – to provide some benefit – to be helpful.

  • Our voices are to be raised in praise – of God, and others, not self. “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” “I will praise you with my whole heart?” Lips of praise?

Hebrews13:15 [NIV] Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

2 Corinthians 10:17 [NIV] But, "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."

If you search the scriptures for lips or mouth or words or tongue, you are going to find that the Bible has plenty to say about what should be coming from them and what should not. Here are a few for consideration: James 3:5-9; 1 Peter 3:10

I have given the devil so many scripts to reply in my mind, when I am feeling low or trying to go to sleep at night - words I should have said, but didn’t- words I should not have said but did. Oh, how I’d love to never add another line to that script!

I promised to let you know what my one focus was going to be this year and here it is: I’m going to work on every aspect of my mouth, which, as we learned, begins with my heart. I will put away gossip, complaining, and bragging. I hope you will catch me often praising God and others.

James 3:2 [NIV] has this to say: We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. (Emphasis mine) Clearly, I should not expect it to be an easy task. 

I have a feeling it is going to be painful year for me, but the rewards will be great. It would be fantastic to be identified one who is never at fault in what I say. In fact, if I can just slow down adding to the script running in my head, it will be a victory.

Here is my prayer and my goal for this year: Psalm 19:14 [KJV] Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

If I succeed, I’ll have something to crow about. But, of course, I won’t crow. 

FYI: Next year is the Year of the Dog. Hmmm. What could that teach me?

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